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In their first year of study, PhD students are required to take four 0.5 credit courses, typically two in each term.


There are two PhD candidacy exams: the Comprehensive Area Exam and the Specialization Area Exam. Both exams are designed to prepare students in areas of specialization for teaching and research. Primarily comprises canonical texts for a teachable area, while the Specialization Area Exam is orientated towards the dissertation and may cover, in-depth, both the canonical and the non-canonical texts necessary for the dissertation research. The two exams complement and reinforce each other, but occur at separate stages of the program and are graded separately.

Language Requirement

Doctoral students are required to meet the language requirement by demonstrating reading proficiency in at least one language other than modern English. (French is the recommended language though students may propose a language other than French if it has direct relevance to the student’s program of study.) The language exam must be completed in Year 3 of the student’s program.

Alternatively, students can take a language course at the appropriate level to satisfy this requirement.

Program Standing

A minimum standing of B+ in all prescribed graduate courses and seminars is required. Students are normally expected to maintain an A- average in the program. A student who twice fails the Comprehensive Area Exam, the Specialization Area Exam, or the language exam will normally be required to withdraw from the program.

On April 15 of each year of registration, students are required to complete an annual research progress report detailing the achievements of the previous year and the objectives for the next year. The report must demonstrate satisfactory progress, and must be signed with comments by the advisor and graduate coordinator, and filed with the graduate coordinator and the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies office. Failure to submit a satisfactory report may result in a suspension of the student’s funding or the student being required to withdraw from the program.

Residency Regulation

At least five terms of full-time study must be devoted to the doctoral program following the completion of a recognized master's degree.


Gender and Genre

The specialization in gender and genre emerges from the intersection of two broad conceptual areas within literary and film studies. In the wake of feminist theory and criticism, performance theory, masculinity studies, cultural studies, and queer theory, gender is recognized as a crucial factor in the production, circulation, and consumption of literary, filmic, and other cultural discourses. Genres, recognized and defined by particular cultures or communities, serve to shape, identify and make legible social discourses and otherwise amorphous representations. Theorizing and exploring genre in literary, cinematic, historical, performative, psycho-social, and political contexts, the field incorporates a range of inquiries and methodologies that situate the cultural construction of gender and sexuality in relation to the genre in which these constructions appear.

Faculty working in gender and genre studies include: Andrea Austin, Kathryn Carter, Maria DiCenzo, Tamas Dobozy, Philippa Gates, Jenny Kerber, Russell Kilbourn, Tanis MacDonald, Mariam Pirbhai, Markus Poetzsch, Lynn Shakinovsky, Katherine Spring, Eleanor Ty, Robin Waugh, Lisa Wood.

Nation, Diaspora and Culture

Literary and filmic works, visual and oral narratives contribute to one's sense of belonging to an "imagined" community, whether to a domestic family, to a socio-cultural or religious group, or to a broader ideological and political system, such as a nation or empire. In addition to national literatures and films from Britain, Canada, and the United States, the field explores contemporary debates and theoretical developments in post-colonial, global, minority, indigenous, and diasporic studies (including Asian, Caribbean and African). Theoretical, cultural and historical concerns include those of war, imperialism, settlement, slavery, race, hybridity, mobility, globalization, human rights, and gender.

Faculty working in nation, diaspora, culture include: Sandra Annett, Kathryn Carter, Jing Jing Chang, Tamas Dobozy, Madelaine Hron, Tanis MacDonald, Ken Paradis, Mariam Pirbhai, Lynn Shakinovsky, Eleanor Ty.

Textuality, Media and Print Studies

Textuality is a discursive practice that valorizes text as context, and examines the modes of cultural production and consumption through which ideologies are disseminated, normalized or contested. Films and literary works are best read in awareness of their historical, cultural, and discursive milieus. In literary studies, these range from the Medieval, Early Modern to postmodern periods; in film studies, from early, classical to contemporary films. The field invokes the postmodernist principle that the meanings of a text or a film constitute themselves through reflexive processes of origin, configuration, response, interpretation, and reinterpretation. Scholarly activity in this area can include such varied approaches as aesthetics, translation, adaptation, intertextuality, structural codes and conventions, editing, performance analysis, transmission, circulation, and reception of manuscripts, scripts, and other kinds of texts, source study, stylistics, semantics, semiotics (verbal, visual, aural, gendered); and discourse analysis.

Faculty working in textuality, media, and print studies include: Sandra Annett, Andrea Austin, Maria DiCenzo, Philippa Gates, Madelaine Hron, Russell Kilbourn, Ken Paradis, Markus Poetzsch, Katherine Spring, Robin Waugh, Lisa Wood.

Contact Us:

Katherine Bell, Graduate Coordinator



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